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This is the archive for June 2007

Friday, June 22, 2007

I received a nice email from a fellow blogger day before yesterday letting me know that he was a fellow blogger.

Now that may seem like a silly statement but I have to admit that I am pretty bad about checking the new folks out, sticking with old favorites – mainly because I can be too lazy to go looking at new stuff.

So I took a look at his site and do wish that I had done so earlier. Of course my wife may not like it as I’ll probably be buying even more books in the near future.

Don’t take my word for it, go check out Civil War Librarian now.

This is especially true for my friends in the 18th Mass who reenact the medical part of the Civil War as Rea covers Images of Civil War Medicine – which does look pretty interesting indeed.

Last year I did a post on Juneteenth. In it, I mentioned that I was disappointed in the lack of news articles that showed up covering it. I even mentioned that I had hoped that in 2007 there would be more articles.

The old adage – “Be careful for what you wish for, it might just come true” seems to apply here.
2006 articles – 23
2007 articles – 1,954


I am not even going to comment on all the bad publicity, instead I thought I would share a link to a local station in Charleston that took it serious and provided good coverage of the local event. The article also has a link to the video story they did originally.

Also, I am going to modify my wish from 2006 –

Perhaps next year, we will see more people celebrating Juneteenth or at least a bit more people acknowledge its existence. For no matter what you feel about the causes of the war, this is an example of something good that came out of it. Something very good.

And say -
Perhaps next year, we will see more people celebrating Juneteenth or at least a bit more people acknowledge its existence in a positive way. For no matter what you feel about the causes of the war, this is an example of something good that came out of it. Something very good.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

There is a first for everything and this post is one of them. This is the first time I have written a post specifically to answer questions from a reader. Annette made two good comments on my South Carolina by the Numbers post and I appreciated the humor that she injected into them (at least that is what I am hoping some of the statements were).

I would suggest reading Stirring the Pot and then South Carolina by the Numbers, including the comments before reading below.

Annette –
First off thank you for your well thought out and almost reasonable response.

I’m going to start off with the easy ones and work to the hard one if you don’t mind.

How long have I lived in SC

I make no secret that I am not a native to the state. Technically I am stateless because although I was born in Maine, my father was in the Navy there and I was not a citizen. I actually like it that way because I can look at it as, I had the whole world to choose to call home and South Carolina was the only one that fit right.

I’ve been in the state long enough to remember when the Democrats ran the state and the sales tax was only 4 cents. Raising it to 5 cents was going to save our Education System and have us right up there with Florida. I think we have moved 1 spot in the 25 odd years since it was raised.

South Carolina Civil War Sesquicentennial Advisory Board

You are right, as a normal person, I have no chance in hell to be on the committee and never thought I would be on it. Heck, when I emailed a few of the Senators on the Education committee and got no response, it just underlined what the general feeling to the “common citizens” truly is.

Overall it seems like an open and shut piece of legislation that keeps getting killed due to inaction. That being said, the Commission – in my opinion - is too big to begin with. Senator McConnell did a wonderful job trying to balance all the sides out in his proposed legislation but there are too many sides involved.

My point from the beginning was that every day we miss in planning is a day wasted. Not to mention several of our neighbor states are already well past the planning stages. I may harp on South Carolina but it is my beloved South Carolina and I do so only in the hopes of seeing it become a better state.

So, I am afraid that we will fall into the ole SC trap, wait until the last minute to start on something, have it implemented and it failing. Followed quickly by blaming everyone and thing but the fact that most sat on their butts instead of working.

But the reason I brought it up, was if the Confederate Flag is so important, why is no one else fighting for this Board to be established? It seems like a natural extension of wanting to promote the heritage of the state.


So, I may be misreading this from the SC Chapter's website.

Admission to the organization shall be by invitation through a Chapter.
The application shall bear the endorsement of two members of the accepting Chapter to whom the applicant is personally known. She shall be accepted for membership as described in the UDC Bylaws

The way I see it is that you fill the application out and then get it endorsed by existing members - the chapter than votes on letting the applicant in or not. The reason I read it like this has to do with my Fraternity days and we had very similar wording for our pledges. Now, also having been involved with looking into the membership process of the Washington Light Infantry and The Hibernian Society (as I found out the hard way – not to be confused with another National Irish organization) I can see where your comment comes true.

So, I than went to the National Homepage and found that at their site, they actually say, if you are interested in joining, contact a certain address. Seems like they are willing to have people prove they are of descent and let you in. For now, I’m willing to state that there is a good chance that I am wrong but does that really move the needle on those who care about their heritage?

Percentage of people fighting for the Confederacy

Here is one where I agree with your assessment of the numbers – not that I didn’t check the originals just to make sure. But by checking it did show me something that I always wondered, less than 10,000 free African-Americans were in the state. The one question on this that bothers me still, could there really have been close to 100% participation from the 15-49 year olds? It seems too much like a crooked election where 99% of the population votes a dictator back into the position. For now, I’ll have to go with that but will definitely need to look into it more.

Catering to the Minority

Like you, I did my best to find some numbers on members of the NAACP in SC but it was close to impossible to find, besides the national number of 400,000 and the fact that they were cutting staff nationwide.

But that was not what I was trying to show. It was actually comparing to one of the major arguments I hear over and over again, the flag would be catering to the vocal minority of the NAACP. When looking at the number of people who have claimed through membership their heritage, 0.12% seems like an even smaller vocal minority. So which minority is truly a minority?

One last thing on the minority, should we ignore them if they are right? I am not asking if the flag flying is right or not, I am asking if we should just ignore a population because they don’t have the numbers. Just think how much worse this country would have been without the NJ Compromise during the Constitutional Convention. SC has been real lucky in producing some powerful senators over the years. Without NJ’s fear of being ignored by the bigger states, we wouldn’t have had such a chance.

And lastly – just how hard did I hit my head

Well, I have to thank you for reading my other posts, makes me feel good to know at least one person outside of my family did.

Thankfully, the grinder didn’t hit my skull - it was more the jaw, it would be one heck of a head scar and I would hate to see what kind of bad hair days that would have made. But I will be honest that we can blame the SC educational system once again. Three years of High School football and 4 years at The Citadel can do more damage to one’s brain than you could ever imagine.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Today is Father’s Day. As I write this, I am sitting in my living room, early in the morning as the rest of my family sleeps. At times like this, the house is unusually quiet. There are no kids making sounds that only kids make – you know the ones that I fear will one day tear a hole in the fabric of the space-time continuum - causing some sort of galactic crises that only a hero from the comic books or TV could fix. The random sounds of cleaning machines, the washer, dryer, vacuum, and dishwasher – all are quiet. Even the annoying sounds normally coming from outside – lawn mowers, cars, stereos, neighbors – all are quiet for a change. The only two things I really hear, birds chirping and my cat Licorice purring as she walks by me.

This is a time for reflecting and writing. Although normally it is when I write about the larger blog posts on the Civil War, today it’s about my Father.
The past couple weeks I have been searching for the perfect gift for him. I’m not always the best at that but I try to keep it away from the normal safe zone. As such, I searched the memories of my childhood to find a hint of what I could get him. I came away with more than I could have imagined because it became an exercise of what my father has taught me over the years, things I thought I would share today.

My father, along with my mother, taught me the life lessons that make me what I am today. They became the core values of what I try to live up to day in and day out. Some of these seemed obvious at the time, while others took reinforcement and only looking back do I see how much it really meant.
First and foremost, he taught me not just patriotism but a true love for the United States of America and the need to fill my responsibilities as one of her citizen’s.

He often told my sisters and me that he only graduated from High School because he was about to join the Navy, during the Vietnam War. Without his diploma, the Navy wasn’t going to accept him as a recruit. There was a time that I thought he might have been exaggerating until one family reunion when all three of his sisters made off the cuff comments that verified it.

He became a Hospital Corpsman and went to Jungle Warfare school after boot camp and his Corpsman training. He would then spend a tour in Vietnam with Marines. He spent his tour walking the jungles on patrol with platoons of Marines, not on a ship or base far away from the battle zone that you would think someone in the Navy would be. Marines call themselves “The few, the proud, the Marines” and as such, often look down on anything that is not a Marine, except for the Navy Corpsman. All you have to do is look at the membership rules of the Marine Corps League and see that Corpsman (with certain provisions) are the only non-Marines eligible to join. Just before he was ready to get shipped home, his bunker – with all his uniforms and personal items – was destroyed in a mortar attack. He would come back to the States to get married, in borrowed clothes.

Even after the tour in Vietnam, he would stay in the Navy for a total of 22 years, achieving the rank of Senior Chief. He gave his heart and soul to the Navy and showed his family that it wasn’t just a job but an honor to serve. During this time he also taught me the importance of voting, to make sure we have the right leaders because especially for him, they did control his life. He also showed me the importance of the First Amendment by not criticizing those who spoke out against the government – as long as they were trying to make things better. I remember him telling me once, “As long as you vote, complain as much as you want. If you don’t vote, stop whining.” I’ve only missed voting once since turning 18, just so my Dad won’t tell me to stop whining.

Family came first for my parents. There are so many times that I can point to that him and my mom putting the kids before themselves. Buying an Atari 2600 for the family when they should have put the money elsewhere, not going to Nursing School because of the hardship that would have presented to the family as a whole, going on a 1 year tour to Diego Garcia without the family - an island in the middle of the Indian Ocean - so that I could finish High School in Beaufort and making sure that I would be able to go to college, no matter what the price.

My father’s hobbies still help me to this day. I didn’t always enjoy them as much as I wished I had but I was with my dad and that I loved, I hope that showed to him. Fishing and carpentry came from his father both of which teach you more about patience than you could ever imagine. As I type this, I realize I need to do a little bit more of both – I need a bit more calming in my life. Building Model Railroads was always fun and I wish I had room in my house now to build one with my kids. The planning, technical and artistic work was amazing – followed by just running the trains. Every other year or so my dad would come back and say, “Time to take it apart and start from scratch.” Looking back, I see where he was teaching me that you will never be finished with some things but that is perfectly ok as long as you are doing your best.

When I was 14, I was working for a tomato packing plant and involved in an accident. I have a six inch scar that runs from my chin to the edge of lips in a curved line. The only reason I still have a nose is because my braces caused the grinder that caused the scar, to bounce off. I remember my father talking to Mr. Shapiro, the owner, after I got out of the hospital - walking out with lots of stitches and a bunch of drugs which did more for me to never touch drugs than any other thing – telling him, “My son will be fine, the hospital has taken care of him.” I didn’t know what that meant than but now I look back and realize we could have owned that packing plant or at the very least made our lives better. But I was fine and there was no reason for a lawsuit. They reinforced this later while I was in college. My mother broke her arm in a Sam’s Warehouse. All they wanted was an apology and a commitment that they would not let puddles stay on the floor without at least marking them. She eventually found herself talking to one of the Vice Presidents in Bentonville because no one would give her an apology. It seems they were all afraid of a lawsuit. All my parents wanted to do was make sure no one else went through the same thing. It doesn’t have to always be about lawsuits and I have reminded myself the same thing on a few occasions when I had the chance to “own” something.

My love for animals comes from my father and mother. My parents surprised me with a dog once; at least that was what my dad was supposed to come home with. Much to my mother’s surprise, he came home with a cat, Tiger. Dad was walking to the dogs in the pound and was stopped by a kitten that came up to him in the cage. He never made it past the cage and had to take her home. My mom wasn’t one for cats because her mom wasn’t but she put up with it well. Tiger was a wonderful cat and I never had another like her. My parents were especially good about letting us have animals, always having fish, dogs, hamsters and even turtles growing up. As long as we took care of them (and mom was always good about helping us) they were part of the family. That was the key, they were not an object, they were a member of the family and needed to be treated as such.

My dad likes the classics – no not Mozart or DaVinci – I’m talking real classics. Growing up, I watched the Old West movies and TV shows. John Wayne was like an uncle to me and for the longest time I thought I had seen them all. I once stayed up until 2 am to see one that I hadn’t just so I could say I had. But the west was on TV too and I have to say I will still sit and watch a Gunsmoke episode every now and then – although I always preferred The Rifleman. But his tastes also included War Movies, Science Fiction, and old fashioned comedies. All of these things helped guide my unique tastes. But it also helped me find myself reading as much as I do - trying to find something I liked because the TV just didn’t have anything new worthwhile on. It also lead to my love for technology– without which, I wouldn’t have the great job or education that I have received. Not to mention my love for watching great movies.

There is a great Country music song sung by Barbara Mandrell, “I was country when country wasn’t cool.” This really encompasses my father. He didn’t care what others thought, listening to Country when everyone else listened to Pop, loving NASCAR when the world loved anything but and wearing what was comfortable not what was considered stylish. I’ll never forget showing my dad my first pair of Nike’s bought at the Paris Island Exchange in 1984 for a whopping $25. Later I heard him exclaim to my mother, “I’ve never paid more than $5 for a pair of sneakers.” Comments like this added up to the point where I would realize, I didn’t need to fit into the masses to have a good life. Want proof; look at the paint peeling, screeching, and oil leaking 1995 Corolla that I am driving. I could easily go get another car today (and almost have several times) but want to pay off our other, nicer car before adding a bill that would affect what my family would be able to do on a daily basis.

Most of all, my parents taught me politeness and respect. I am 37, yet will still automatically call someone sir or ma’am. I hold the door for people and try to be nice to others while driving. In this day and age it might be strange but this is what they taught me and what I am teaching my kids. Life is better when you are nice to other people.

As I have written this, the noises have started. My children are awake and walking about – doing their best to let me finish writing this as they want to wait on me hand and foot. While I doubt I can ever express to my Father the thanks and appreciation for all that he has done for me over the years, I hope I can repay him through my children. As I look at them, I can only hope that I can instill as many good life lessons as my father did.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Well, the blog where I found the sketch doesn’t have a way to contact the blogger, so for now, I won’t have any other info on the sketch book but will continue looking elsewhere.

As promised, here is more information on Christian based on our research of the unit.

Christian Rheinlander: born Dec. 24, 1836 at Hadester, Denmark, the son of Emanuel and Mary Rheinlander. He was a 26 year old Machinist from Denmark, who arrived in the United States three days before he was drafted into military service at Boston, MA on August 25, 1863, and was mustered into the 18th Mass. Infantry on that same day as a Private in Co. K. Per regimental records he was 5 ft. 8-1/2 in. tall with a fair complexion, blue eyes, and dark brown hair. He was engaged with the regiment at Rappahannock Station in Nov. 1863 and was further engaged in the Campaign against Richmond from May 1, 1864. He was captured and taken prisoner near Poplar Spring, VA on Oct. 1, 1864. He was held as a Prisoner of War at an unidentified Confederate prison until he escaped on April 11, 1865 and was forwarded to Camp Chase, Columbus, Ohio.on June 5, 1865. He was mustered out of military service at Camp Chase on June 13, 1865. Following his military service, Rheinlander resided at Buffalo and Lockport, NY. He married Harriet (Playford) Kramer, the widow of Noah, at Buffalo, NY on Sept. 26, 1865. Noah Kramer, who served with Co. K, 113th Illinois Infantry, died of wounds received at the assault on Vicksburg on May 22, 1863. Rheinlander applied for an Invalid pension on July 19, 1890 and received initial benefits of $12 per month under Certificate #: 598958, due to disabilities from heart and liver disease. Rheinlander, age 70, died of Brights Disease at his home, 47 Waterman St., Lockport, NY on July 27, 1907 and was interred at Glenwood Cemetery. His wife Harriet applied for a Widow's pension Sept. 27, 1907, Application #: 877021, but was not issued benefits under this claim, but was instead restored to the pension rolls as the widow of her first husband Noah Kramer. Harriet Rheinlander died at Lockport, NY on June 23, 1918.

Excerpt from Declaration for Invalid Pension filed by Christian Rhinelander; dated Lockport, NY, July 14, 1890 (Pension Record, National Archives, Washington, DC):
Christian Rheinlander aged 54 years, a resident of the City of Longport, County of Niagara, State of New York, who being duly sworn according to law, declares that he is the identical Christian Rheinlander who was enrolled on the 24th day of August 1863, Private, Co. K, 18th Mass. Infty Vols (War 1861) was captured Oct. 1st 1864 in front or near Petersburg, on release was placed in Camp Chase, Columbus, Ohio and was discharged from there as an escaped prisoner and got three months extra pay in the war of rebellions and served at least ninety days and was honorably discharged at Camp Chase, Columbus, O., on the 13th day of June 1865. That he is partially unable to earn a support by reason of Neuralgia, weak stomach, kidney complaint, loss of teeth, chronic diarrhea, incurred in service and rebel prison. I was only three days in the United States when I enlisted I just arrived from the old Country.

General Affidavit of Christine Rheinlander; dated Feb. 19, 1891 (Pension Record, National Archives, Washington, DC):
Claimant says: that in response to Circular Call No. 3, Departmental requisition 3-077 dated Feb. 16, 1891, that he was born in Denmark, and arrived in this country in August, 1863. Within a week after his arrival in this country he enlisted in the city of Boston, on the 25th day of August, 1863 and was paced in Co. K 18th Regt. Mass. Vols. Infty. Col. White commanding. He was discharged on the 13th day of June, 1865. He never served in any other company or regiment, vessel or branch of the U.S. Service, before or after the dates hereinbefore mention. As I was a recruit when the old veterans term expired the rest of the regt. were put into Cos under Capt. Reed 18th Mass. Oct. 1st 1864. I was taken prison, escaped Aprl. 11th 1865 forward to Camp Chase, Columbus, Ohio & discharged from there on partial description list as an escaped prisoner by Genl. Order No. 1 from War Dept. June 13th 1865. I was told while I was in rebel prison I was transferred into Co. I, 32 Mass. Vols.

Excerpt from letter to Prudential Insurance Company by Bureau of Pensions; dated Nov. 10, 1936 (Pension Record, National Archives, Washington, DC):
Examination of the record in this case reveals that the veteran Noah Kramer was married on January 25, 1856 to Harriet Ann Playford; that he died on May 23, 1863 in the service; that he was survived by three minors, Mary C. Kramar, born October 18, 1856, Rosa C. Kramar, born February 19, 1858, and Delilah C. Kramar, born December 7, 1861. The present addresses of these children, if living, is not know to this office.

It is further shown that the widow remarried on September 26, 1865 to Christian Rheinlander, and that he died on July 27, 1907. It was indicated that he was not survived by any children and that he was born in Denmark.

Upon the death of Christian Rheinlander, the widow’s name was restored to the pension rolls as the former widow of Noah Kramar, and her name was finally dropped from the pension rolls because of her reported death on June 23, 1918.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Sunday, I stirred the pot, with a post on the Confederate Flag and the United Methodist Church passing a resolution asking for it to come off of state house grounds.

While writing the post, I thought about the rallying cry I often hear, “Heritage not Hate” and wondered just how much truth might be in that.

Not that I don’t believe the descendants who claim the flag is about their heritage and not some deep lying racism. More to the bit, how many people can actually claim it’s their heritage?

So I did a bit of research that I will now present to you which I like to call, South Carolina by the numbers. Fair warning most of the numbers are rock solid but as we get to the end, I have to make some assumptions. All population numbers come from the US Census Bureau; other numbers have their sources quoted. Any failure in the calculations is my own fault (along with the education system of South Carolina that I proudly graduated Junior High, High School and College from).

In 1860, the population of South Carolina was at a whopping 703, 708 individuals. Slaves represented 59% of this or 412,320. Although I claim to have graduated from South Carolina public education (which is normally a disadvantage) I can subtract numbers, meaning that the White population was 291,388. OK, before you ask, yes I am aware that there were some free African-Americans but I have not been able to find any number that would sway the percentage any significant amount.

Next, I found that according to the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Museum some 71,000 citizens “served South Carolina in the Confederacy”, which again according to my limited math skills, soldiers comprised of just 10% of the state’s population or 25% of the White population. Keeping in context, 10% of the State was actively fighting for a government that was keeping almost 60% of the population in slavery.

Fast forward to 2000 and the population has changed dramatically and to be honest, I don’t blame it. After reconstruction, the SC government was taken over by folks bent on doing everything they could to bring the state back to the old ways. As one SC website I read said, “the African-American population was disenfranchised”, which I translated to mean, they lost almost all of the rights they gained due to the war and many left the state, hoping for greener pastures.

Which helps explain why a Reverend from New York who ran for President as a Democrat was found to be a descendant of slaves owned by the family of a man from South Carolina who ran for President as a Dixiecrat, would later become a Republican and refuse to leave the Senate well past his prime. Let’s not even get into the fact that while he was running on a platform that would keep Jim Crow laws alive and also opposing racial integration, he had a daughter growing up that was born out of wedlock to an African-American servant of his family. But we should gloss over that and get into some other numbers.

The population as of 2000 was 4,012,012, with the African-American segment only making up 30% (half of the 1860 percentage) or 1,208418. The White population is at 64.8% or 2,728,168 – while another 75, 425 are of other descent.

Shocking how close the “other descent” is to the number of those who served in the Confederacy. Here is a bit deeper analysis, 2,567,687 citizens residing in South Carolina in 2000 actually were born in SC. This does not even get into how many of the natives, like my three children, have no genealogical ties to the state. But taking on face value (which is where my numbers become assumptions), if you apply the White population of 64.8% to the number - you get an estimated 1,643,319 Whites who are native or 40% of the population of the state.

One last thing though - do you happen to know how many people in South Carolina belong to the Sons of Confederate Veterans? As a reminder, this is the group that in order to join, you have to prove that you are descended from a soldier of the Confederacy (not just those who served for SC) - ie those who truly have a stake to the Heritage of the Confederacy.


That is just 0.09% of the population of the State. Wow, talk about catering to a minority....

So the flag stays up insulting most of the African-American community and most probably have nothing to do with another 30% of the population. To top it off, the heritage part – honoring those who fought for their “rights” (state rights, not rights to own slaves, even though the state wanted to continue this) - which at the time was only 10% of the population.

So after doing all this, one question keeps popping into my mind.

If the Heritage of the State was so important, don’t you think that the South Carolina Civil War Sesquicentennial Advisory Board would have been passed into law by now and not pretty much dead in the committee for the second legislative session in a row?

There is another question I have but I really don’t want to get into how Imus could possible tie into the flag controversy. That is just too much trouble for even me to cause in one day.
I got a nice note today from Turner Publishing expanding on some of what I put in the review of Historic Photos of Gettysburg yesterday.

First, this is just the beginning of a series of Civil War titles that they plan on publishing. Next on the list is Petersburg, with Salmon again doing the honors along with his wife Emily. They have collaborated before on a previous Turner Publication, Historic Photos of Richmond. I have asked what other Civil War titles are planned after the first two and will let you know as soon as I hear something.

Also, John has expanded his appearances while in Gettysburg, which I have updated below.

Book Signing appearances

June 20th, 6:30 PM
Fountain Books - Richmond, Va

July 7 – Gettysburg, Pa
11:00 AM
Gettysburg Hotel
1:00 PM
17th on the Square
2:30 PM
The Horse Soldier

Monday, June 11, 2007

Last week I hinted that I would talk about one of the really nice books I got, Historic Photos of Gettysburg.

Then I failed all of you by not doing a dang thing. I can be bad like that.

So today I thought I would make up for it by having TWO posts! I know what you are thinking, “Wow, first he actually posts and now he throws up two in a day?”

Not to get you too excited but I’ve got a post already written for tomorrow. Yup, I can be good like that.

The cover of the book shows a photograph that I wish citizens of today’s America would take to heart, elderly soldiers from both sides, united together, not still fighting the war. You don’t see them cheering for the old days or reliving the glorious armies they served in – you see the sadness in their eyes and can only ask yourself, “What would they tell us if they were around today?”

Although I have seen many of the pictures in the past, I have never seen so many presented in one book. The pictures are grouped together with 54 pages dealing with the battle, 75 pages on dedication and remembrance (1863 – 1900), 39 pages on the Fiftieth Reunion and 29 pages on the Seventy Fifth Reunion, followed with notes and bibliography sections.

The pictures in each group are enlightening in so many different ways. The battle photographs, although not actually taken during the battle, help give a sense of the battlefield as a whole. As you go through later groups, you see how the battlefield changes with age. The other sections also show how Gettysburg became a place of pilgrimage for veterans, family members and Americans in general. The last section holds sadness to it, as you see the elderly veterans return and you realize that for most, this is there last venture to the battlefield. It is much like what we hear in the news about our WWII veterans and their ever decreasing population.

While one can easily flip through the pages and finish the book in less than 30 minutes, the impact that the pictures will have is reduced to nothingness. John S. Salmon, whose previous works include The Official Virginia Civil War Battlefield Guide, has done a thorough job of writing entertaining and educational text and captions to accompany the photographs. He has succeeded in producing a work that both the ACW buff and recreational reader will enjoy and hopefully learn a bit from.

It is fitting that the last photograph is that of The External Light Peace Memorial, shortly after its dedication by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The External Light Peace Memorial was intended as both a tribute to the soldiers who fought at Gettysburg and as a symbol of eternal peace in the United States. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his speech at the unveiling ceremony, declared, “On behalf of the people of the United States, I accept this monument in the spirit of brotherhood and peace.” Roosevelt also said, “Immortal deeds and immortal wounds have created here at Gettysburg, a shrine to American patriotism.” Indeed, no other hallowed ground stirs such emotions, even today, as Gettysburg National Battlefield Park.

If only 144~ years since the battle, we still weren’t finding ourselves still fighting over it.

Historic Photos of Gettysburg
Text and Captions – John S. Salmon
PublisherTurner Publishing
216 pages
ISBN - 978-1-59652-323-4
Price - $39.95

Book Signing appearences
John will be signing his book at two upcoming events
June 20th, 6:30 PM
Fountain Books - Richmond, Va

July 7, 1:00 pm
17th on the Square - Gettysburg, Pa
Father’s day is coming and my wife has been looking for things relating to the 18th Massachusetts for me. At one point I even found her looking at a shako that may have (but thanks to a warehouse fire during the war – probably did not) to the 18th. I talked her out due to the price and honestly if she is going to spend that much, I’d rather pull in some more of Edmund’s stuff.

As she was searching the web she found the following post originally on the blog Past Voices: Letters Home, dealing with one of the soldiers – Christian Rheinlander. Surprisingly this post is from two years ago and the first time I or anyone dealing with the 18th has come across it. From the way the post is set up, it looks like there may be more and have emailed the blogger to see if there is.

This is the first time we have come across a sketch dealing with the 18th but it’s been a long time since we have seen a new one. To get one from New York makes it that much better. Sketches that I have seen in the past seemed to have been made by the post to help pass the soldiers memories to the next generation. Unfortunately, most have not survived to today.

Today, I’ll share the sketch, while tomorrow; I’ll have a bit more information on Christian.

Civil War Memoir: Christian Rheinlander, 18th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry
The following is from Grand Army of the Republic ~ Department of New York ~ Personal War Sketches of the Members of Charles P. Sprout Post No. 76, of Lockport

Sprout who was with the New York 28th Infantry was killed in Action at Cedar Mountain, Virginia on August 9, 1862

Christian Rheinlander
Born, Denmark
Company “K”, 18th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry

…The first battle in which I was engaged was at Rappahannock Station, Va.… Was taken prisoner by Rebel Infantry, October 1st 1864 between Weldon and South side Railroads. Was confined in Salisbury Prison, N.C., April 12, 1865. A few of my most intimate comrades were Capt. Murray, Sergeant (now) Capt. Beck.

The most important event connected with my service was my escape from Rebel Prison. On the 12th of December, 1864, the prisoners in Salisbury Prison made a break for liberty, but failed. Got a good thrashing. Killed and wounded about sixty-five of us, but on April 12, 1865, together with thirty-nine others,

I succeeded in making my escape by jumping form a train of cars on which we were being removed from one Prison to another. Just as it was starting out from Salisbury on account of United States Cavalry making a Raid on the City on their way from West Virginia into North Carolina. Will add that when I was discharged, I received form the U.S. Gov’t, 3 months’ pay as an escaped prisoner. In making our escape, five of us were killed.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

I woke up on today to see something new in the news.

Over the last couple months, little pockets of revolt have started to creep from the shadows to take on the establishment of the South Carolina General Assembly. First it was USC Head Football Coach Steve Spurrier in April, commenting several times that it was time to take it down. Shortly after, I found myself reading letter after letter to the Post and Courier, attacking Spurrier for daring to question that a Battle Flag of a defeated country, which was never recognized by another government, would fly on a monument on located on the State House grounds.

This was followed by opponents of the flag writing in letters with their view and of course more letters arguing telling the world how the flag was the holiest thing in SC and anyone who disagreed should be burned at the stake (ok , that is an exaggeration but you get my point).

Today something different happened; a major group besides the NAACP came out against the flag. During its annual convention, the South Carolina United Methodist Conference approved a resolution calling for the flag to be moved off of the State House Grounds. According to the article only one other religious organization has done the same thing, the South Carolina Christian Action Council.

I applaud both groups for taking a stand while others just sit. Maybe this will be the start of something new.

To read more, go here.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

I get a lot of emails. Sometimes I cringe at what I read, sometimes it is just an “oh” reaction, and sometimes, I am really happy the person took the time to email.

The other day, I received an email with the subject line “LOST at war”. As a huge fan of the TV show Lost, I thought it might be something cool to tide me over until 2008 when the new episodes start showing (If you watch the show, you want to know two things right now – who was in the coffin and what went wrong when Jack left the Island).

At first I was disappointed when I read that it was really about an online magazine entitled LOST Magazine, until I read a bit deeper. I had never heard about the magazine before, so read a bit from their “What LOST does” page, which begins with

LOST Magazine is an online monthly magazine that combines elements of many other literary, online, and national magazines with a singular mission -- to reclaim in writing lost people, places, and things.

This month, the magazine is using a war theme, looking back across the centuries of American History, touching on the major wars in a unique way.
As I read through the magazine, I was really impressed. The Civil War article is a song from the war, which I was a bit disappointed with as I have already read so many songs. It was the Vietnam War article that really got to me. Not to give too much away, it is an email to a Marine about to go to Iraq from a Marine that served in Vietnam. I’ve already sent it to several Marine Corps friends, who have all given it rave reviews – something I totally agree with.

Take some time and go visit the magazine. More than likely you will be like me and read right through it and hope the next issue comes out a bit early.

So yes, the email was definitely a so glad they sent this to me email. Maybe I’ll get another one of those today.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

It is a week for books.

Two days in a row I have come home and my kids did their joyful “Dad got mail” dance as I walk through the door. It is a unique dance that can only be seen performed by three strange children of English, Irish, German, French and who knows what else descent. It is close to impossible to describe, just imagine 3 happy children with almost no rhythm, trying to dance and multiple that a few times. You might be close to what I encounter every time a package arrives in the mail.

See, we get the mail a good 3-4 hours before I get home. Since they are now out of school – it means a long wait for when I get a package.

I think it started when I got Edmund’s stuff, opening the box was a huge deal and the kids fully participated in my glee and sadness. They enjoyed it so much they want to join in the fun every time a box comes.

It is also funny in how short of a time they have come to notice which boxes are junk mail or when they are from publishers.

Generally, this means me sitting down on the couch and instructing one of them to get a knife to cut through the layers of tape normally keeping the box together. Then we take a look at the book and I normally explain what the book is about and if Edmund is somehow related.

Two days ago, the dance was for a package from the University of Nebraska Press. Upon opening the box, my daughter looked at it and commented that it was a big, pretty book about ponies. This was due to the cover having a horse on it.

Eric over at Rantings of a Civil War Historian had high praise for the book after he finished reading the manuscript last year .

One of my all time favorite Civil War authors has also chimed in

“Scott Patchan has given us a definitive account of the 1864 Valley Campaign. In clear prose and vivid detail, he weaves a spellbinding narrative that bristles with detail but never loses sight of the big picture. This is a campaign narrative of the first order.”
—Gordon C. Rhea, author of The Battle of the Wilderness: May 5–6, 1864

Looks like Patchan and University of Nebraska Press have hit a homerun on this one. Yes that is a rather out there pun...

Tomorrow, I’ll have a post on the book I received today. Although there was dancing by my kids, I’ll skip the dance description though and concentrate on the book.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

I got word that you can purchase “The Earth Reeled and Trees Trembled”: Civil War Arkansas, 1863-1864 at the Old State House Museum online store. A direct link is here.

So far I have really enjoyed the book, only wish I could have attended the speeches as they were given as it looks like it truly would have been a blast.